Rangers only need one win.
After the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 5-2 on Saturday night at the Garden in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series – their fourth elimination contest this postseason – they will advance to the Conference Finals of the Premier League. It’s the first time in seven years if they win Game 7 on Monday night at Carolina.
The Bruins couldn’t win in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the Hurricanes went 4-0 at home in a first-round series, which also lasted seven games. Rangers haven’t been able to do that in their three tries so far in this series.
But the Rangers will have to be the first team to upset the Hurricanes at home this postseason in order to earn the chance to avenge their 2015 conference final loss to the Lightning.
Carolina failed to land a road series in Game 6 for the second time and is now a jarring 0-6 in road games this postseason.
The Rangers were a team on a mission from the puck toss and the Garden crowd raved about it. When Barclay Goodrow shockingly exited for pre-match warm-ups and was finally announced as the starter (the utility striker had missed the previous 11 games with a suspected broken ankle), the cheers went up. sounded. It was by far the loudest the building had been in all season.
Filip Chytil, reunited with fellow Kid Line members Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko, scored twice. The Rangers power play scored twice, on goals from Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin, who scored his first of the series at 7:43 of the third period to cap the night’s score.
Even trade deadline acquisition Tyler Motte stepped in, opening the scoring in Rangers’ first two-goal period, which set the tone for this one early.
Oh, and goaltender Igor Shesterkin was brilliant with a stunning stat line of 37 saves, two assists and two penalty minutes in his seventh playoff win. He became only the second goaltender in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record two assists and a penalty in the same game, joining Tom Barrasso, who did so in 1993 with the Penguins.
There were more goals scored in the first two periods on Saturday than in any other game in this series. Despite a 2-0 lead early in the second period, the Hurricanes managed to answer each of Chytil’s two goals for Rangers midway through the period.
After the Czech winger fired one from the right circle early in the period, former Rangers defender Brady Skjei put the Hurricanes on the board about a minute and a half later. Chytil then went bar-down with a dirty backhand to make it 4-1 at 6:47 of the second. Vincent Trocheck, however, later cleaned up a rebound to pull Carolina within two heading into the second intermission.
Shesterkin and Rangers were locked in from the start. The Hurricanes looked more like a light drizzle than a storm surge at first, but the visitors string together sweltering stretches that Shesterkin had to contend with throughout the game.
The star keeper made 15 saves in the opening 20 minutes, in which Rangers were able to build a 2-0 lead.
In a quintessential Rangers streak, Shesterkin closed the door on a Sebastian Aho breakaway before Motte scored at the other end for the 1-0 lead in less than 7½ minutes. very beginning.
When Brendan Smith caught Lafrenière with a high stick to send Rangers on the power play soon after, Zibanejad scored on a smooth move to the net that beat Carolina goaltender Antti Raanta. With the score 2-0, Zibanejad became the first Ranger to score in four consecutive games since Brendan Shanahan did so in 2007.